THE trouble with success stories is that they usually bring out the worst in people. And, the trouble with Wet Wet Wet is they have no great lookers, no flashy dance routines, and few controversial skeletons in their closets - but they're the biggest thing to hail from Scotland. It's the perfect formula for hate and envy, and it has got so bad that British tabloids are apparently beseeching readers to call in with 'any dirt [they have] on Wet Wet Wet'. And now they have a juicy bone to gnaw on with the recent 'controversy' over the Wets' new album, Picture This, for which 20 Scottish artists - including John Byrne and Bosnian war artist Peter Howson - were commissioned to paint their portraits, included on the album jacket. Two prominent artists whose work do not appear are crying foul and a leading Glasgow art critic who made the initial approaches for the band said she felt used by their manager Elliot Davis. And there have been calls for a boycott of the exhibition of the paintings that will go on the road with the European leg of the band's 1995 All Around And In The Crowd Tour. 'Controversy?' lead singer Marti Pellow repeated blankly over the telephone from Amsterdam, where the band was promoting Picture This. 'I break bread with the artists not the art critics and I don't see that they have a problem with anything. I didn't realise there was a boycott. But, there you go, you learn something new everyday. 'The 15 artists I have met and who have gone on the road with the tour have spoken passionately about it . . . positively as opposed to being negative. 'I'm sorry about the two artists who didn't enjoy what the others enjoyed with what we were trying to achieve . . . It looks to be just a case of sour grapes but that's probably just the British media picking up on something. They think something, they print it, that's the way it goes.' The Clydebank lad can afford a little outspokenness these days although the band has had its shaky moments. When Wet Wet Wet released High On The Happy Side in 1992, it caused some anxiety after the first two singles bombed. But the album title has proven prophetic. Picture This, their fourth album, comes hot on the heels of Love Is All Around, the unofficial theme song for Four Weddings And A Funeral. The song has been touted 'the best-selling single in Britain in a decade', amassing 1.5 million copies in sales. Last year the band sold seven million albums. For a teenybopper Scottish band making black soul music, Wet Wet Wet has done well. They are a long way from being teenyboppers and they're still making good music, even if some of it belongs to other people. It was, after all, their cover of Bryan Adams' Goodnight Girl that pulled High On The Happy Side back from the brink of oblivion and Love Is All Around was a Troggs' hit in 1967. This does not bother Pellow. 'There you go, that just goes to show how songwriting can be. That it can be done in so many different ways . . . with so many different approaches.' For the band, it was a dream come true to have a song in a film, and since Love Is All Around there have been more offers - one is the new James Bond film and the other, a 'big film in the pipeline'. Two or three songs were suggested when they were approached to do a song for Four Weddings And A Funeral, among them a Barry Manilow number, but the Wets opted for Love Is All Around. 'We were more familiar with REM's interpretation of it even though it was originally a Troggs number. We recorded it in two days and everyone liked our interpretation and the record company liked it. 'But that's [the beauty of] songwriting . . . that someone like REM can take a song on board, and someone like Wet Wet Wet can take it on board, and then take it in so many different ways. 'Love Is All Around is a song you can't ignore. It's probably one of the best songs that we ever made. It seemed a shame not to use it in the format of the album. It has been quite relevant to my life over the past two years,' Pellow said. This is a different opinion from drummer Tom Cunningham's, who was quoted in a British paper as saying he 'feared people would hear that song again and start jumping off buildings'. Pellow sounds surprised to hear this. 'Maybe Tommy felt that way, I don't really know. There you go . . . Tommy, nice quote!' he said. You can almost picture the flash of handsome teeth. It was Pellow's winning trademark smirk that turned teenage girls into what the band affectionately call 'screaming demons' and shot Wet Wet Wet to success. But the secret of the band, which took its unusual name from a Scritti Politti album track, has been the collective effort and talent of Pellow, bassist Graeme Clark, keyboardist Neil Mitchell and drummer Cunningham. The band formed in 1983 with a sweet brand of soulful pop influenced by Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and the Beatles. Their debut album Popped In, Souled Out was released four years later and although none of the singles was a hit, the strong melodies and lush arrangements caught critics' attention. And, it was their rendition of the Fab Four's With A Little Help From My Friends for a charity album put together by British magazine New Musical Express that gave the Wets their first number one single in 1988. Only in their 20s then, the band was tagged 'teenybopper', a title the Wets have been trying, with some success, to lose. 'We started at 21, not that far [in age] from people who were buying our albums,' said Pellow. 'But that was a decade ago. The band has grown up and our audience has too . . . we don't have the luxury of picking our audience; they pick us.' Pellow believes the Wets have a loyal legion of 'half a million or something' fans. With their support, the pressure of constantly hitting number one spots has eased a little. 'If you sell millions and millions of albums . . . fans look for quality in music and I think they get the big picture. Our fans are who we care for, not the news groups. We just do what we do best, that is write music and put them on CDs.' Wet Wet Wet has always given the impression of being a love-song-and-ballad band, something which Pellow disagrees with. 'Some people mix up what Wet Wet Wet is all about. We're a band of many colours, from song range to our techniques. 'We've never been a political band, we're not the sort to talk about social issues. Wet Wet Wet is purely entertainment. We don't claim to change the world with our music. We only entertain.' And, Hong Kong will be one of the places Wet Wet Wet hopes to entertain as part of their world tour this year. After the success of Four Weddings and the song, concert promoters have been beating a path to their door. 'We'll be in your neck of the woods real soon,' promised Pellow. 'At the rate it's going, it should probably be in October. We'll be doing Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, and then on the way back, we'll jump off and have a party in Hong Kong.' To their critics, Pellow says the best is still to come from the band. 'On Picture This, Wet Wet Wet has managed to capture our own sound. On other albums, the songs have been rather sporadic, and in this case, we've managed to keep one sound. 'Basically, we've been going for 15 years. They won't get rid of us that easily. We're still going to be here in another 15 years because we write good songs and melodies and there'll always be a market for that.'